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Saltash Passage: A History

Saltash Passage has a fantastic history dating from the original Devon and Cornwall Ferry crossing during the Norman Conquest, to the building of the Brunel Bridge in 1854, built by celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to the American Naval Base established in 1943 to aid in the Normandy Landings, a memorial of which can be seen along the waterfront toward the Bridges.

Pictures courtesy of Derek Tait

The Ferry (1066 - 1961)


The original rights to the Ferry at Saltash Passage dates back to the Norman Conquest in the 11th Century. The Ferry was also given as patronage by Edward, The Black Prince to William Lenche for his services in the Hundred Year's War. 


During it's long history, the many Ferrys of Saltash Passage underwent the benefits of industirial progressions, moving from sweeps, oars and Stay Ropes to chain and steam.


The journeys weren't always safe, as in 1733 the Ferry capsized and sank with twenty lives lost to the River Tamar.


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The Royal Albert Bridge (Brunel Bridge: 1854 - 1859)


The Brunel Bridge, otherwise known as The Royal Albert Bridge was built by celebrated English Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel was responsible for the building of the Great Western Railway, plus the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship.


Construction began in 1854, and was opened by Prince Albert on May 2nd 1859, connecting Devon and Cornwall by rail.


Made of Wrought Iron, the Royal Albert Bridge stands at 172 feet high, with a total length of 2,187.5 feet, with a water clearance of 100 feet.


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Pictures courtesy of Derek Tait

Pictures courtesy of Derek Tait

Vicarage Road Camp: US Naval Base (1943 - 1945)


Base Commissioned: 8th November 1943

Base Decomissioned: 25th August 1945

Commanding Officer: Captain C.F.M.S Quinby U.S.N

Executive Officer: Commander W.G. Hurlbert U.S.N.R

Vicarage Road Camp: Lietenant C.W. Carr, Officer in Charge


Construction of the base was done by the U.S Navy and housed 175 Officers and 2,200 Men U.S.N. The Camp provided working parties for the repair of both U.S.N/R.N and allied navy vessels. Another function was to load over the hards all craft, either for the many exercises or the D-Day load itself. This was a 24 hour a day task and approximately 36,000 men and 60,892 tons of equipment were loaded over all hards from D minus 14 to D plus 14.


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